Uploaded by Colin Wilder

Modern European History (HIST 102 Colin Wilder)

University of South Carolina
HIST 102
Summer 2023
European Civilization
from the Mid-17th century
[Seventeenth through Twentieth Centuries]
Dr. Colin Wilder
Office: Gambrell 239
Office hours: by appointment
History 102 examines key developments in European development and expansion
from the seventeenth century to the present. The course emphasizes economic
transformation (industrialization, its origins and consequences), political thought (the
shift from monarchical to mass politics) and the forms of European empires (the
expansion of European power and its retraction in the twentieth century). Students
will study material presented in lectures, a textbook, and primary sources, and the
course includes elements intended to help students understand and analyze different
kinds of sources. Students will demonstrate their knowledge of European history and
their ability to present an argument based on primary source materials in exams,
written responses to readings, and in participation/discussion over Zoom/Blackboard
video chat sessions.
Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of History 102, students should be able to:
1. Demonstrate principles of historical thinking to understand human societies,
specifically through the history of European civilization from the mid-17th
century to the present.
2. Define and summarize major events, developments, and themes of the history
of European Civilization from the mid-17th century.
3. Evaluate significant themes, issues, or eras in the history of European
Civilization from the mid-17th century.
4. Demonstrate basic skills in the comprehension and analysis of selected sources
and their relevance in the context of historical knowledge.
5. Develop interpretive historical arguments drawing on primary and/or
secondary sources.
6. Recognize the differences between original historical source material (primary
sources) and later scholarly interpretations of those sources (secondary
Units of Study
There are 13 units of study in this course.
1. Scientific Revolution
2. Empires, mercantilism, liberalism
3. The Enlightenment
4. The French Revolution
5. Industrial Revolution
6. The Malleability of Society
7. Science, Culture, and Empire
8. The Great War
9. Interwar period
10. The Second World War
11. Genocide
12. The Cold War
13. The End of the European World Order
That makes about one unit per official day of class. The units are of different sizes. For
example, we will cover the scientific revolution briefly, but the units on WW1 and
WW2 are each much longer.
Homework Time
You should plan to dedicate about 2-4 hours per day of this term to READING alone.
This does not count time watching my video lectures. Some units reading will be
shorter, some longer. For example, the scientific revolution unit has about 22 pages of
reading total. The next unit, on European trade empires, mercantilism, and freedom of
trade, has about 71 pages of reading. And so on.
To stay on track, you should plan to watch the video lectures for, and do the readings
and assignments related to, ONE unit per day.
Video Lectures
Since this class is virtual and asynchronous, we will not have the ability to meet face to
face, alas. As a substitute, I will make and upload to Blackboard video lectures of slide
presentations. These will be the main way that I communicate my knowledge of the
subject to you.
I will not separately upload the slide decks themselves.
Course Readings
Two books are required for purchase:
a. Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front. Please note that the
various film and TV adaptations of this book, include the recent one, differ from
the book. Please do not choose to “save time” by watching the film or video
instead of reading. Besides, the adaptions are not the same and I know the
differences. If I detect that your knowledge comes from the film or TV version
rather than the book, you will be penalized.
b. Timothy Garten Ash, The Magic Lantern
Both books are available in the Bookstore.
Beyond these, there will be many short readings. I will make these available in
electronic form via Blackboard. They will be in MS Word or PDF format or
occasionally as web URLs.
For later units of the class (20th century) there will also be some audio and video clips
to listen to/watch.
Blackboard & Sources
Your main place for information, your homebase, for the course is the course
Blackboard site (section 000 “Supersite”).
Many of the course materials are primary sources – that is, they are documents
written by historical actors during the period that we will study.
In contrast to these, we will also read chapters from a modern textbook (in electronic
The textbook is a secondary source, that is, something written by twenty-first-century
historians for twenty-first-century students.
Since this course is virtual and asynchronous, there is not attendance as such, in the
sense of going to class in person. You are simply assigned certain tasks, such as
reading, taking exams, writing responses, and participation. Your grade is based on
my evaluation of your completion of these tasks.
Electronic Discussion / Participation
All students will attend and participate in six (6) live discussions, to be held either over
Zoom, Blackboard, or another electronic video platform of the instructor’s choice. I
will attempt to schedule these at days and times most convenient to the largest
number of students in the class. Most students most of the time should try to attend
these. I will make every effort to create a signup system to keep these discussion
groups as small as possible, ideally around 5-8 students. Discussion sessions will last
30 minutes each.
In the event that a student cannot attend any discussion sessions in a given week, he
or she may make an appointment with the instructor for a special day and time one on
one video discussion.
All of these electronic discussions will be part of students’ grade, in place of a normal
in person participation and attendance grade. You should come prepared to these
discussions, having read the material assigned by that day and ready with ideas,
questions, and knowledge.
Naturally, if you have to sign up for a one on one conversation with me, you will be
more “on the spot” to show your knowledge of the material.
This course has three exams, scheduled on the following days:
1. Friday, June 2
2. Friday, June 9
3. Thursday, June 15
The exams are not principally cumulative, but may refer to or require mention of
material studied in previous weeks of the term. So there may be a little bit of
cumulative knowledge required.
Reading Responses
Your third area of evaluation will be in writing three (3) responses to the readings. The
format of these is as follows: Each will be 600-1000 words long. I will give out
prompts; you choose which one prompt to write about. The prompts will often be
based loosely on reading questions found here and there next to the reading
assignments (in the scans). The third week’s prompt will however be on either the
Remarque novel or the Ash book, rather than on an electronic scanned reading.
Grades will be calculated as follows:
Exam 1
Exam 2
Exam 3
Reading Responses
Letter grades are on a 100-point scale (A=90-100, B+=88-89, B=80-87, C+=78-79,
C=70-77, D+=68-69, D=60-67).
Grading Rubrics
● A written response, whether a response to a reading or an exam essay, will score an
A (either written in class or as homework) when it includes an introduction that
states your thesis plainly and explains what the main points of your paper will be.
Each paragraph in an A paper makes one point in support of your thesis and cites
evidence from the texts in support of that point. An A essay will make at least three
main points. An A essay will have a conclusion that reminds the reader of your
thesis and of the main points that you used to support it. Finally, an A essay will be
carefully proofread and contain no grammatical errors.
● An essay that scores a B will have most of the components of an A essay but its use
of evidence and its organization may be weaker. It may contain a few grammatical
● An essay that scores a C may have difficulty articulating its thesis; it may make only
2 solid points rather than 3; or it may lack a conclusion. It may also contain more
serious grammatical errors that suggest unclear thinking or a failure to proofread
● An essay that scores a D fails to organize its argument into paragraphs or uses
textual evidence only minimally. It may reflect basic misunderstanding of the
meaning or significance of the evidence it includes. It may contain more serious
grammatical errors that fundamentally impair the student’s ability to
● An essay that scores an F fails to answer the question and shows that the student
did not understand or did not consult the material under discussion. It is likely to
be disorganized and to contain serious grammatical errors that make it difficult to
Students with disabilities should speak to Dr. Wilder about appropriate
Academic honesty
The USC Code of Academic Responsibility calls on students to “adhere steadfastly to
truthfulness and to avoid dishonesty, fraud, or deceit of any type in connection with
any academic program.” We will report any instances of plagiarism or cheating.